Well, I've had this for a bit: it's a prologue to my NaNoWriMo, which'll be all of Starclimber in the point of view of none other than Mr. Tobias Blanchard! Tobias does not get near enough love; here's a centric oneshot for him.

I am not Kenneth Oppel.

If there's one thing I hate, it's falling.

It's so harsh- falling. Falling off a ledge, falling profits, falling in love. Falling is never a good thing, and more often than not ends with somebody getting hurt. Whenever I hear the word "falling", the same reaction is ignited in me: a cold, flailing sense of panic.

Miss de Vries claims that the sky is just like the sea, but I know better.

The water is my friend- it envelopes me in security, hugs me with its silence. It lets me do what I want, whether it be somersaults, back flips, cartwheels, or actual work. Underwater, it's peaceful, and a great place to think; all you can hear down there are your own echoing thoughts.

You don't fall underwater.

The sky, however, is very unfriendly. It tells me, in no uncertain terms, exactly where I belong: back on the ground, or in the water. It pushes me down and out, only wanting to satisfy its need of getting me out of sight; not caring that I am scared witless. And I fall.
It's all too fast, all too open. There is nothing solid about air; nothing to grab onto. The wind drowns out my frantic mind. It roars in my ears, showing its anger. I can't see- everything is whipping past my eyes, smearing like a pastel portrait. I'm going to be sick.
The air is cold, ripping at my body in an attempt to finish me faster. The sky is unforgiving, bare and cruel.
But that's not all- it's not enough for the air to be rid of me, it has to do it with force. It wants me to crash, as if to tell me to never intrude in the sky again. It's also ingenious- when I break my bones, the air is cowardly and won't take the blame. Instead, it pins the fault on the ground below me. Quite a devious thing, the sky.

Matt loves the sky for all the reasons I fear it, and is panicked underwater for the reasons I am calm. He says that he loves the openness of the air, that the wind helps him focus, that he falls in slow motion. No, wait, he doesn't fall- he soars, he flies, because he's Matt Cruse, pirate-killer, ghost-ship-salvager, air born, lighter than air. He's had more adventures than I'd hope to have in a lifetime- he'd never be afraid of a silly thing like falling.

He is, however, afraid of sinking.

I find this strange; it's much slower than falling. But Matt's a tad claustrophobic- I'm not sure which he's more afraid of, the astral suit or the water. He says he can't stand being enclosed off from the rest of the world. At least in the air, he can easily see the ground and the water, an astral view. But underwater, he can't see his sky. How does he know it hasn't stopped existing? How does he know that he'll ever come back up, to see if it has?

But truthfully, I'm not sure I understand exactly what the land-dives and parawings contribute to in our astral training. Dr. Turgenev predicts that there is no air, no gravity, no up or down in space. You can't fall in outer space. It'll probably be more like underwater. So why must we jump off a platform with nothing but a cord around our ankles? We wouldn't be doing that in space, would we? Then again, I'm also fairly certain that there wouldn't be any Scramblers in space either. But at least I understood the purpose of that exercise: focusing and memory under pressure. The underwater training made the most sense to me: it only makes sense to practice in the element most similar to the one you'll have to work in.

I appreciate the parawings and such for only one reason: Matt. He'll get panicked and fumble in the pool, come out miserable, but jumping out of an airplane always helps him regain his composure. Weird, in a sense, but then I remind myself that I'm the exact opposite.

I'll never be comfortable in the sky, and Matt will never be fully comfortable in the water. We try to give each other tips, but we both know it's futile. Perhaps being so different is what makes us such good friends. Everyone has their element. Some people like falling.

But I sure don't.

Hoping you liked it. Regardless if you did or not, please leave a review ... did I get the characterization alright, or is it too dark?